The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Erin Aug. 15 and a disturbed area of weather moving over the Yucatan Peninsula.
Photo courtesy of NOAA
The official tracking map from the National Hurricane Center for Tropical Storm Erin at 11 p.m. Aug. 15.
Computer generated forecast models for Tropical Storm Erin.
Computer generated forecast models for potential tropical development in the northwestern Caribbean Sea.
Tropical Storm Erin most likely will be downgraded to a depression by Tuesday night.
The National Hurricane Center shows maximum winds to decrease to 35 mph within 120 hours. A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39 mph as a minimum.
Erin was about 340 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands at 11 p.m. Thursday. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph. Wind speeds are expected to increase to 50 mph within 36 hours before it encounters weather conditions unfavorable for further development. Erin is moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
Meteorologists are continuing to watch a low pressure system located over the central Yucatan Peninsula. The NHC expects little to no development while the system travels over land tonight. Forecasters said some potential exists for development tomorrow as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC gives the low a 50 percent chance of becoming a depression or tropical storm within the next 48 hours and a 60 percent chance within the next five days. An Air Force reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance on Friday if necessary.
Computer models continue to disagree widely on the track the disturbance might follow with paths spread out along the coasts of Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.
Peak season is here
The peak months of the Atlantic basin hurricane season are August through October. The basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís updated outlook for the 2013 calls for an extremely active season with 13 to 19 named storms with six to nine strengthening into a hurricane and three to five becoming a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. No hurricanes have formed thus far this season.
Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, hurricane experts from Colorado State University, also predict that the remainder of the 2013 season will have above-average activity.
Klotzbach and Grayís updated forecast issued Aug. 2 calls for 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Their forecast also gives odds of 63 percent that a hurricane will affect the state of Florida and a 28 percent chance of a major hurricane affecting Florida.
Andrea was the seasonís first tropical storm. It formed June 5 in the east-central Gulf of Mexico. Andrea had winds of about 65 mph when it made landfall in Dixie County about 10 miles south of Steinhatchee about 5:40 p.m. June 7. Andrea brought wind and rain to Pinellas County, causing minor damage to the beaches. Rain bands from the storm spawned a tornado that touched down in Gulfport the morning of June 6.
Tropical Storm Barry started as a tropical depression on Monday, June 17, as it approached the coast of Belize on the northeastern coast of Central America. It strengthened into a tropical storm June 19 in the southern Gulf of Mexico and made landfall along the coast of Mexico June 20.
The third tropical storm was short-lived. Chantal formed July 7 over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean and degenerated into a tropical wave July 10.
Dorian was the fourth tropical storm of 2013. It formed the morning of July 24 in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. It was downgraded to a tropical depression July 27.